October 1998 Reviews

This month's guest reviewer is Scott Lazaruk, a DJ from Toronto, Canada, currently a member of the Stickmen Record pool. If you'd like to check out Tom Robbs' and Scott Lazaruk's mixsets online, go to http://www.techno.ca/dj/ and look for the Tom & Scott "Side 2 Side" mixes.

DJ Liquid Presents the Blue Spotted Frog / Journees Music

A fair variety of mixes on this release from Liquid Records. For lovers of trance are Damon Downs' mix, an acid breaks track, and Peacock's two trance mixes. The two standout mixes are Will Webb's moody 'Spaceship Bound for Miami' Electro mix, and Stephane Vera's 'Teknostep's XM Tekhouse' mix. The latter is my pick, which starts strong with a driving techhouse feel and closes out with chopped up beats and a faint melodic hook.

ZipCode / Dancin' b/w The Stomp / Sneak Tip Records

I hadn't heard of Zipcode before seeing this release, but it's certainly gotten my attention. 'Dancin' is a jumpin', jackin', bumpin', house stormer. Bouncy bassline, stripped down disco stabs, and plenty of cut up basslines to play with. The first mix on the 'Stomp' side is a fairly straightforward hard house track with no surprises. But the second mix is a nice house groover with a couple scratching solos dropped in that work well. Overall a nice release.

Fast Eddie / Over & Under / IHR

Both Underground Construction and International House Records seem to be following a pattern in their recent releases: 2 absolute nutter hard/acid/booty Chi-house tracks opposite 2 funky filtered disco house tracks. No exception here, with 'Bang It Bang It' and 'Don't Fake It' filling in the nutter contingent, and 'Eddie's Gang' and 'I Feel It' in (saner) funkier territory. The first result of this combination is that I'm loving the sound of these funky Chicago tracks -- filtered vocals, great basslines, disco mayhem. The second, more worrisome result is that these hard Chicago booty tracks are starting to worm their way into my once-pure techno sets. Help.

Chris Jackson / Industrial Espionage / Resource Records

A solid piece of work on California's Resource Records. There are three solid, driving, techhouse tracks -- but the standout for me is 'Mental Block', a bouncy deep techhouse number with great layered funky synth lines. I'll be watching for more releases from Mr. Jackson ..

DJ Decent / Where You At G / Stickmen

A real surprise from Hollis P. Munroe (DJ Decent) -- if you were expecting more deep house in the vein of 'I'm Lonely', Rob Paine's mix will be the one you're looking to check out. The DJ Decent mix is an extremely catchy acid breaks number bouncy enough to make the most diehard techno fanatic take a listen. Rapper Solitaire is featured on the Day's vocal mix, a solid hip hop mix. There is also an intrumental of the hip hop mix, which if you pitch up to 45 is the basis of the breaks mix.

Moodyman / Sunday Morning / Planet E

Predictably fantastic work from Kenny Dixon Jr. 'Sunday Morning' is a deep, dreamy, jazzy, meander with sax solos and lilting vocals drifting in and out of the mix. 'Track Four' takes a quiet little funk loop and turns it inside out, chopping up the bassline, and doubling up the beats. Add washing snares and a walking synth bassline and you have another masterpiece.

Paperclip People / 4 My Peeps / Planet E

Carl Craig delivers more deep techno brilliance on his latest release. 'Shot', the full length mix, builds slowly over the entire track, gradually layering in more elements and building intensity. Brilliant stuff. The first mix on the 'Stabbed' side is a more stripped down version of 'Shot', not really building much off the bassline. The second mix is a bassless cacophony of synth stabs, an interesting audio assault. Wonderful work overall.

Hollis P. Munroe / I'm Lonely (Vincenzo K., Wamdue remixes) / Stickman Records

Having thoroughly enjoyed the original (flogged to death or not), I was eager to hear these remixes. The Wamdue mixes are both deep tech house numbers, using the vocal sparsely. The Vincenzo K remix on the A-side is a full on garage mix most will have heard, while the B-side mix has a beautiful keyboard hook and faint vocals.

Tony Rodriguez and Sanford Ashley / Tracks from the Lab / Brother's Vibe

A good 10" from the deep peeps at Brother's Vibe. "Le Calle Cinco" is a jazzy deep houser with a looped piano hook and a blazing organ lead. "Pulse" is a simple bassline track that would do well heavily mixed, but doesn't stand out by itself.

10 / Santone / SOM Underground

2 solid looped funk tracks, one jumpy and one more filtered and groovy, on this 10". Both are simple but effective.

PJ / Soul Grabber Pt. 3 -- The Remixes / Aquarius

4 reinterpretations of the original from Roger S. and Jason Jinxx. The S-man's mixes are heavily cut up house loops (one vocal, one dub). Jinxx's first mix uses the original bassline and cut up vocals, while his second is a stripped down tech house mix. All four mixes are good, but none really top the original.

BMC / Disco Juice EP / Nite Life Collective

This fourth release on the Nite Life Collective (Chicago) has me eagerly awaitng their next release -- the past four have been sweet! This EP features four solid deep house & techhouse tracks suitable for kicking it out to or chilling back. Keep it coming ...

Brian Harding / Inner Instincts / Nite Life Collective

Brian Harding's new album is a further reinforcement in the already very strong NLC camp. Deep house tracks with strong techno influences -- this will sit comfortably in your crate alongside Larry Heard's recent releases. One track deviates from the techhouse style -- "Chill Mode". Written and produced by Stephane Vera (Teknostep), it's a spacey, downtempo, techno melody with a skippy beat. Solid work all around.

Abstract Beating System / Beat Pushers / International House Recordings

A combination of styles from Chicago's Mazi, under the guise of Abstract Beating System. The A-side opens with "Wicked Game", a superb Chicago house track with a subbassline and strong soul vocals. A2 is "ABS", a techno track with a Chi-house beat that will absolutely floor you. Utterly original, utterly slammin! The B-side is two mixes of "Funk it Real", hard Bad-Boy-Bill style tracks that aren't really my slice. I've seen two other releases by Mazi on Underground Construction which followed the same format -- 2 house tracks opposite 2 hard tracks. He'll be one to watch ....

John Audette / Conscious Salad / Signal Records

John Audette's release is the first I had heard of Signal Records (of Hamilton, Ontario) but I will make sure it isn't the last. All four tracks are well produced, deep techno/house tracks with pulsing synths and wicked snare lines. B1 is my favourite of the release -- a deep track somewhat reminiscent of a Maurizio release.

Simon Hartley / WildPlanet / 430 West

Superb techhouse numbers from Detroit! "Synthetic" is a bouncy track with a hard bassline and a lot of complex (and extremely funky) work going into the highs -- deep techno to make your ass shake. "Moving On" combines a techhouse bassline with synths faintly suggesting disco house.

Octave One / The Collective / 430 West

Deep techno, techhouse, and a drum n' bass number can all be found on this superb doublepack. It's all good - well impressed!

Copyright © Scott Lazaruk 1998. Printed with permission.

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